The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Image
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68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

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7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 193 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford delves into the private life and public exploits of America's most notorious outlaw. As the charismatic and unpredictable Jesse James plans his next great robbery, he wages war on his enemies, who are trying to collect the rewardThe Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford delves into the private life and public exploits of America's most notorious outlaw. As the charismatic and unpredictable Jesse James plans his next great robbery, he wages war on his enemies, who are trying to collect the reward money--and the glory--riding on his capture. But the greatest threat to his life may ultimately come from those he trusts the most. (Universal Pictures) Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. The nervy style of this newfangled Western, with its eerie, insinuating score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, is so effective that long after Pitt and Affleck have left the screen, emotional disturbance lingers like gun smoke.
  2. Pitt won the Best Actor award at Venice for his Jesse...Yet it's Affleck who impresses most as the wary, skittish Bob.
  3. It is a film, often breathtaking without settling for being pretty, filled with nervous silence.
  4. 63
    It’s far less engaging than the recent "3:10 to Yuma" remake and concentrates more on the details than the broad picture.
  5. 60
    Although not as radically defamiliarizing as Jim Jarmusch's avant-western "Dead Man," Jesse James has the feel of an attic ransacked for abandoned knickknacks.
  6. A film whose reach exceeds its grasp. Hugely ambitious and not without moments of success, this indulgent 2 hour and 40 minute epic ends up as unwieldy as its elongated title. It's a movie in love with itself, and few things are more fatal than that.
  7. 38
    A gorgeous snooze, somewhere between imitation Terrence Malick and a feature version of star Brad Pitt's notorious Vanity Fair layout with Angelina Jolie and their faux kids.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 51 out of 71
  2. Negative: 11 out of 71
  1. Johnny
    Nov 8, 2008
    10
    Absolutely spellbinding. An endlessly interesting character study that's flawlessly written and directed. Casey Affleck delivers in this Absolutely spellbinding. An endlessly interesting character study that's flawlessly written and directed. Casey Affleck delivers in this career-defining role, and both he and Brad Pitt give two of the most complex performances I've ever seen in cinema. I understand that this film will actually bore many people. It is described as a western but it is an artistic western. It is about the film-making; the story; the characters, and not about the all so cliched shoot-em-ups and explosions you see in old westerns. If you can handle art, and steer away from action for just a little bit, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" will truly move you if you can view this in the correct context. If historical accuracy means anything to you, this is THE film to watch. Expand
  2. JoeB
    Oct 14, 2007
    10
    The film of the year... bar none. Long ? Baloney! If anyone calls himself a film buff and complains about length of this film, he should The film of the year... bar none. Long ? Baloney! If anyone calls himself a film buff and complains about length of this film, he should stick to 30 minute sitcoms. I wouldn't want to see a second clipped. Great performances down the line. The best film of 21st Century. When they want to, they sure can make 'em like they use to. Expand
  3. GalenS.
    Mar 10, 2008
    10
    I was a little hesitant to purchase this D.V.D., considering the fact that I don't like western films at all. However, knowing that the I was a little hesitant to purchase this D.V.D., considering the fact that I don't like western films at all. However, knowing that the movie was based on historical facts encouraged me to go ahead and take a chance. All I can say is WOW! I've never seen a movie with more intense visuals, a better sound track, or more intense acting performances! This isn't a movie, it's a masterpiece of art on the Widescreen! The adaptation of the story is phenomenal, the panorama of the visuals is amazing, and the soundtrack is haunting. Casey Affleck gives the performance of a lifetime as the nit-witted, apparently harmless, yet ruthless Robert Ford, and Brad Pitt plays the part of Jesse James to perfection. In fact, all the acting performances in this movie are top notch, not to mention the fact that the cinematography is out of this world, the sound track is hauntingly surrealistic, and the story itself compelling. While watching this movie, I felt as if I myself had been transported back in time to 1881, and was watching the whole drama unfold before my very eyes! Incredible!!!!! Expand
  4. ChadS.
    Feb 9, 2008
    8
    In "Almost Famous", the late rock critic and founder of Creem magazine, Lester Bangs(Phillip Seymour Hoffman), advises his young protege to In "Almost Famous", the late rock critic and founder of Creem magazine, Lester Bangs(Phillip Seymour Hoffman), advises his young protege to not make friends with the rock stars. William Miller(Patrick Fugit) doesn't heed his mentor's sage warning and gets chummy with lead guitarist Russell Hammond(Billy Crudup) of Stillwater. The Jesse James memorabilia that Robert(Casey Affleck) collects in his shoebox is the equivalent of the posters that hang on the budding rock critic's wall. Their idols, for the time being, exist only in the abstract. Although he doesn't visit his own home, the famous gunslinger's sudden appearance at the house of Wood Hite(Jeremy Renner) does echo Russell's surprise visit to the Miller residence at the end of the Cameron Crowe memoir. Bangs had told William to "be honest, and unmerciful" if he wanted to be a true friend. This is exactly what Robert does when he recreates his execution of Jesse James for the stage. Since "The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" plays like "Good Fellas"(the DeNiro character goes after all the airport heist participants just like how Jesse James eliminates his train robbery cohorts) more than any film that John Ford ever directed, it makes perfect sense that Robert shoots Jesse in the back. The Scorsese film informs us that gangsters are often shot by those closest to them. Since Jesse is Robert's friend(well, sort of; my ass-talkin' theory isn't airtight), he has the authority to kill. The staged play is equivalent to the article William writes about Stillwater. They're both non-fiction pieces; official documents of a true-life event. By not smudging the facts surrounding his vigilant gunfire, Robert respects his craft(assuming that playwriting and the dramatic arts are important to him) and the memory of his boyhood idol. Expand
  5. Feb 3, 2011
    8
    U have to be very psychologically prepared for this drama feast of fabolous performance by Casey Affleck and ofcourse Brad Pitt. At first, theU have to be very psychologically prepared for this drama feast of fabolous performance by Casey Affleck and ofcourse Brad Pitt. At first, the movie seems hard to be watched but as time passes (movie last for about 3 hours) u become more curious 'bout things that would eventually happen, though aware what will be in the end. Name of the movie itself is the mini-synopsis, but this one is definitely slow-paced drama NOT written for mass audience. For what is worth its not commercial... Expand
  6. Jun 8, 2016
    6
    For a synopsis of the film, see the title, an essay in itself. The film is similarly lengthy, unfolding leisurely over two hours and fortyFor a synopsis of the film, see the title, an essay in itself. The film is similarly lengthy, unfolding leisurely over two hours and forty minutes. While nominally a Western, TAOJJBTCRF quiets down after the only gunfight, less than 45 minutes in. That’s just as well, because what’s on the screen is a character-driven drama about hero worship as self-realization—and that’s self-realization of the destructive kind. Character is well portrayed, dialog realistically written and well played, and the extra-wide 2.35:1 aspect ratio constantly brings in the bleak natural environment as an additional role, one that is in a sense voiced by a narrator. Photography and editing are beautifully done, and the tinkly musical score works better than might have been expected. A decent film, if a bit mannered, worth a second look. DVD has no special features about the film itself, Blu-Ray notwithstanding. Expand
  7. ChristopherC.
    Feb 10, 2008
    0
    I think the worst thing about the movie is that it fools some people into thinking it's intelligent and thoughtful. Watching these I think the worst thing about the movie is that it fools some people into thinking it's intelligent and thoughtful. Watching these people calling this film 'high art' is a bit scary, and a little disheartening. This is intelligence? This is what art has become? I hope to God not. Please, give me a reason to hope not. Expand

See all 71 User Reviews

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